Hey, this is really good stuff
Ann Prendergast

Seeking highlands singsing audio

Siebrand_profile One of Siebrand Petrusma’s retirement goals is to convert his 8mm colour film footage of PNG during the 1960s to digital format and edit this to produce a DVD. As you might imagine it’s a major project but it’s one that will give his family and other people some idea of what an amazing era that was.

Here’s how you may be able to help. Some of the film was shot in the Southern Highlands and Siebrand is looking for an audio recording of a highlands singsing to be used as part of the sound track. So far, all his attempts have been fruitless. If you can assist, send Siebrand an email here or call him on 03 6248 1267. Oh, and while you’re at it, why don’t you drop into his blog samtingbilongmi here.


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Paul Oates

I missed that suggestion about the PNG singsing being an invention of the kiaps as I was away on holidays. I'm surprised no one else took it up at the time, but then everyone in the know knew it wasn't so.

Each cultural and ethnic group had and has their own traditional singsings as do many other cultures throughout the world.

The only real difference I knew of in PNG were those people who were referred to by outsiders as Kukukukus. They reportedly seemed to delight in rotating around in a circle and yelling yiah.. yah.... yah.. etc but without the normal kundus and/or garamuts one usually associates with a PNG or Torres Strait Islander singsing group.

Niicaux Blavk

The 'singsing' is deep rooted in the various PNG cultures. It's part of their identity. There are various songs and dances (singsing) for various occasions too, e.g., funerals, pig-killing, bride-price, intitiation, war etc.

If you mean 'singsing' as in Hagen Show or Goroka Show, etc then that is simply a showcase for outsiders to see what these people have in the name of song and dance and so forth. Its set up as a tourist attraction as well.

But to think kiaps invented singsing is just outright absurd :)

On the other matter, concerning Siebrand's query, it sounds interesting. I would love to help out but I first have to check.
Thanks for the toksave.

Peter Warwick

I would appreciate any information on the history of the singsing.

I am told the singsing was not performed in villages as such, but was an invention of kiaps who designed it to bring rival tribes together.

Singing together seemed to ease tensions between the tribes.

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